Four ways to keep your health on track

New Year Shred with East Coast Fitness.
New Year Shred with East Coast Fitness.

Last week marked the end of my online New Year Shred programme.

It was a two-week detox programme designed to help people de-bloat after the festive period and to get 2018 off to the best possible start.

It wasn’t one of them drastic, starve yourself detox programmes where you have to live off lemon and honey water for two2 weeks. It was a lot more manageable and enjoyable than that.

I gave them weekly meal plans that consisted of healthy, tasty, easy to make meals, which satisfied them and kept them full. They were also asked to complete a quick ten-minute workout each day.

The participants supported and inspired each other via a private online group. The buzz, the energy and the determination within the group was very infectious.

We had some fantastic results, as you can see in the before and after pictures. A lot of people lost 7lbs within the two weeks, some lost more, some lost less, but everyone finished the two weeks feeling fitter, more energetic, slimmer and happier.

That’s all well and good, but what happens next?

Now that the programme has ended, they don’t have me planning their meals or motivating them to workout.

If they want to maintain their results, they must continue their good work on their own. Consistency is key to living a healthy lifestyle!

It’s no good doing a detox programme for two weeks and then going back to your old ways, because the weight will go back on just as quick and before you know you’ll feel lethargic and de-motivated again.

So, I prepared them with a few tips on how they can become consistent with the healthy eating plans and exercise and how it can become ‘a way of life’, rather than a quick fix.

This is how to do it:

Plan your meals

Create a seven-day meal plan for the week ahead, write out a shopping list and then get the shopping in for the week.

To create your meal plan, sit down with your healthy cook books, or search Pinterest and pick out seven meals (one for each day of the week), and write them down in a weekly plan. For example:

Monday – Ham & Egg Curried Noodles;

Tuesday – Sticky Stir Fry Pork;

Wednesday – Gnarly Peanut Chicken;

Thursday – Sweet & Sour Chicken Noodles;

Friday – Crazy Good Pork Burger;

Saturday – Creamy Mustard Chicken;

Sunday – Lamb Kofta Flat Breads.

That way, you know what you’re having for dinner each night and you’ll stick to it. If you don’t have a plan you’ll get in from work and reach for the most convenient foods, which are normally fatty, sugary, carby foods.

Once you’ve picked out seven meals, create a shopping list and get the shopping in. If the healthy foods are in the house you’ll eat them because you won’t want to waste them.

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t eat out or have the odd takeaway, but make sure you schedule these into your plan. If you know you’re going for an Indian on Friday night, go and enjoy it. But make sure you stick to plan for the rest of the week.

Complete at least four short workouts per week

If the intensity is right, workouts don’t have to last an hour. You can get them done in less than 20 minutes.

I post a new 10-minute HIIT workout each week on my YouTube channel – (Graham Low East Coast Fitness). If you do four or five of them each week you’ll really improve your health and fitness.

Drink water

Hydration increases your ability to burn fat. If you’re dehydrated your fat burning process will slow down.

You need to have a minimum of two litres of water per day to stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to take a drink, start drinking water as soon as you wake up on a morning – have a glass with your breakfast. Then keeping sipping throughout the day.

When your body is hydrated you will also see other benefits including healthier skin, teeth and bones, healthier joints, improved digestion and reduced fatigue.

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat and has other implications on your health. It increases your appetite, reduces vitamin and mineral absorption, and causes dehydration.

If you are really serious about improving your health you need to consider the amount of alcohol you drink.

Ask yourself, do you really need a glass of wine with your evening meal? Do you really need to have a drink every weekend?

Your trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email or visit